Happy Mardi Gras!

Happy Lunar / Chinese New Year!!!

Shifting gears for just a moment…today marks the Chinese Year of the Snake – Happy Lunar New Year, everyone! The BBC reports:

“Millions of people are celebrating Lunar New Year, also known as Chinese New Year, the most important annual holiday in much of Asia. The new year began in China at midnight, with firework displays and family gatherings. It marked the opening of the year of the snake, taking over from the dragon. In China, an estimated 200 million people have travelled to be with their families in what is considered the biggest mass human migration on Earth. The holiday will continue throughout the week, with government offices and businesses shut down. The snake has a mixed reputation in China. It is associated with wisdom, beauty and intelligence but also pride and anger.”

Ethnic Cambodian Chinese perform a dragon dance at the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh, 9 Feb

The firecrackers are set off to ward off evil spirits and entice the god of wealth to people’s doorsteps. The¬†fireworks shot into the air are said to bring good fortune. From the Huffington Post:

“For many Chinese people, this is their only holiday of the year.

Almost half of Beijing’s population of 20 million have left the city for the holiday, according to state media.

Taboos abound over this period. Crying on New Year’s Day means you will cry for the rest of the year, and washing your hair signifies washing away good luck.

Woe betide those who clean on new year’s day, for you will be sweeping away good fortune in the year ahead.”

Happy New Year!

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